Coastguards Lookout Tower on Holy Island to be transformed

A TOWER built for Coastguards on an island off the coast of Northumberland is soon to be turned into a room with a spectacular view.

Holy Island coastguards lookout tower which is being transformed into a viewing platform

A TOWER built for Coastguards on an island off the coast of Northumberland is soon to be turned into a room with a spectacular view.

Work has started to transform the structure on Holy Island into a viewing platform for visitors and locals.

The former Coastguards Lookout Tower, sited on an outcrop of volcanic rock known as the Heugh, was built in the 1940s but has not been used for many years.

Now the Holy Island of Lindisfarne Community Development Trust is working with Natural England to give it a new lease of life.

The project includes making the interior weatherproof and bringing it up to modern safety standards, with the ladder between the ground floor and the first-floor gallery being replaced by a staircase.

At the top of the tower, the dilapidated coastguard lookout room is to be turned into a glazed, 360-degree observatory.

This will provide visitors with a panoramic view of Holy Island itself and sweeping views of the Farne Islands, the Cheviot Hills and the Berwickshire coast.

For the first time, it will also be possible for people to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.

It covers more than 3,500 hectares of sand dunes, coastal grassland, saltmarsh and tidal mudflats along the Northumberland coast from Cheswick Black Rocks to Budle Point, and is managed by Natural England. The area is important throughout the year for its rare plants and birdlife, but many visitors are unaware that Holy Island is at the heart of an internationally significant wildlife site.

Information will be provided at the building to encourage people to discover the accessible areas of the reserve.

A second project due to start soon will create another “Window on Wild Lindisfarne” with the island’s Community Development Trust working with Natural England to provide a viewing area and environmental education point overlooking the Rocket Field.

The field, adjacent to Harbour Road between the village and Lindisfarne Castle, is noted for its variety of wildlife all year round, particularly in the autumn and winter when large numbers of wildfowl and waders use the flooded fields.

A building of natural stone with a living turf roof that will merge with the surrounding landscape is planned for the site.

Islander and trust chairman Dick Patterson said: “As a lad, I remember sprinting between the Lookout Tower and the Rocket House to raise the alarm after the coastguard had spotted a ship in trouble. I’m delighted the trust is now leading on exciting projects at both sites that will benefit local people and visitors.”

I’m delighted the trust is now leading on exciting projects at both sites that will benefit local people and visitors

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